Collins says it would not be appropriate for Trump to retaliate against impeachment witnesses
Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine), one of two Republicans to vote last week to subpoena additional witnesses and extend the impeachment trial, said Friday that she would disapprove of President Trump retaliating against anyone who came forward with evidence against him.
Collins spoke with reporters at a meeting of the Maine Chiefs of Police Association and her comments were reported by the Portland Press Herald.
The New York Times reported Friday that Army Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, who provided key testimony against Trump during the House impeachment inquiry, will be transferred out of the National Security Council and reassigned to another job within the military.
Trump told reporters, “I’m not happy with him.”
The subject of retaliation against Republican senators came up for debate during the Senate trial when CBS News reported that a “confidant” of the president said they were warned, “vote against the president and your head will be on a pike.”
Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) caused an uproar when he alluded to the report during his closing arguments, and Republican senators later denied they were ever threatened by the president or one of his allies.
Sen. Mitt Romney (Utah), the only Republican senator to vote to remove Trump from office, told The New York Times’s “The Daily” podcast Thursday that he expects to face “unimaginable” consequences for breaking with his party.
“I know there’ll be consequences and I just have to recognize that and do what you think is right,” he said.
On Wednesday, speaking on the Senate floor, Romney predicted, “I am sure to hear abuse from the president and his supporters.”
Collins also revealed that she received three credible death threats since her votes Wednesday to acquit the president on two articles of impeachment.
She said defended her vote, arguing that it was not a reflection of her personal feelings toward the president.
“I think what has been lost in this debate is: This is not a vote on whether you like the president or you dislike the president, whether you support his policies or whether you oppose his policies, whether you would prefer that his conduct were more elevated or whether you agree with how he presents himself,” Collins said, according to the Press Herald.
“This was a vote on the evidence presented by the House … of whether they met the very high bar of bribery, treason, high crimes and misdemeanors that is set forth in the Constitution,” she said.
Collins noted that she was one of two Republicans, along with Romney, who pushed to extend the trial.
“I voted to hear additional witnesses, I thought there should be a limited number chosen by each side in the interest of fairness and I’m sorry that was defeated,” she said.
Collins said she hoped that testimony from additional witnesses could have cleared up “inconsistencies and gaps” in the record.
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